Here’s Dean Lombardi ruminating on the last time the Kings crapped out in a playoff series against San Jose, three years ago, almost to the day.
LOMBARDI: “In a backhanded way — and I said this during the season — I don’t like the fact that we put ourselves in situations where we had to face adversity, but I liked the way we dealt with it. [...] That’s part of building mental toughness and not caving to the pressure of having expectations or whatever. [...]
“Then you [...] look at the playoffs [...], a 4-0 lead (in Game 3 [against San Jose, a game which the Kings lost 6-5]). [...] we have to learn from this and not get in that situation in the first place. [...] the point is that to be a really good team is to learn to be professional. If you look at the good teams, you have to define the problem and then recognize the signs that this is not going to seep in again. That’s the responsibility of your captains [...], that when you get off to 12-3 and you start seeing that slide, knock it off. Detroit, when they’re in a slide, they’ll be .500, but you don’t go 0-8 or 0-9 or whatever.” [...]
“The irony is, you look at this playoff series and everybody talked about our scoring. I think that’s the thing we’ve got to figure out here now. It’s identifying your areas of strength and weakness first, and really identifying it. I think if we had gone into the series and lost games 2-1 or 3-2, everybody would have said, `OK, that makes sense.’ And that’s kind of the way we looked at it. [...] [But] all of a sudden, the playoffs start and we were very uncharacteristic in what is supposed to be a staple of our game. [...] We were fourth in the league in goals against [...] Then we got in the playoffs and we scored goals and all of a sudden we’re giving them up. So that’s something we’ve got to look at closely.”[...]
“So this goes through the whole series. It’s not just the end. [...] The staple of our game [defense], where was that? What was going on there?